Campaign Surrogates Take U.S. Campaign to Georgia

By Dotcomabc

Aug 16, 2008 6:32pm

ABC News’ Z. Byron Wolf reports: It is less than a day since Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ended her quick trip to Georgia, and President Bush has continued his pressure on the Russian government to honor a cease-fire with Georgia. Now, surrogates for both the men seeking to succeed President Bush will head to the former Soviet Republic to show their solidarity with that country’s elected government as it seeks accord with Russia.

Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee left today for a quick trip to Georgia at the request of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, according to a statement released by his office, and will also meet with Georgian Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze and U.S. Ambassador to Georgia John Tefft. He is undertaking the trip in his capacity as a member of Congress, but Biden is often mentioned as a possible vice presidential pick for Sen. Barack Obama and has spoken as a surrogate for the Obama campaign on a number of occasions.

“I am going to Georgia this weekend to get the facts first-hand and to show my support for Georgia’s people and its democratically-elected government,” said Biden in a statement. “I look forward to reporting to my colleagues in the Senate and on the Foreign Relations Committee, as well as the Administration, about what I learn.”

Close on Biden’s heels will be Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., Sen. John McCain’s closest allies in the Senate. Their trip was announced before Biden’s, but the senators will not leave until after Biden. Representatives from both their Senate offices would not say when, exactly, for security reasons.

It could be important in the campaign for the Obama camp that Biden gets to Georgia first. Lieberman has talked about Georgia at McCain campaign events, accusing Obama of having a "moral neutrality" when he should have been more forcefully standing up for Georgia.

This is not the first battle in the international relations war of the surrogates.

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